Nicatous Lake…nature at its finest!

Nicatous Lake is one of my most favorite places in Maine. It is located approximately 65 miles northeast of Bangor. The fact that we own a camp on the lake makes it even more special.

Nicatous Lake: Photo by John Ford -

Nicatous Lake: Photo by John Ford –

Nicatous Lake is a long, narrow lake at the head of Nicatous Stream, tributary to the Passadumkeag River. It is approximately ten miles long, containing 5,165 acres. It is widely considered to be one of Maine’s most beautiful water bodies with its pristine sand beaches, intricate coves and 98 islands. By purchasing an easement on the Robbins paper company land and additional acreage owned by International Paper, the state of Maine helped to foster sustainable forest management while extinguishing all development rights on the purchased land, protecting shoreline buffers, conserving wildlife habitat and opportunities for traditional recreation. In addition to the easement, the state acquired 76 of the 98 islands in Nicatous Lake. The lake is one of the top five loon-nesting lakes in Maine, and has three bald eagle nesting sites. There are six deer-wintering areas in the area and ample range for species such as bobcat and black bear. There is excellent bass and perch fishing in the lake and many trout ponds with a short distance. I am told that nearby West Lake supports trophy-sized land-locked salmon.

There are many campgrounds in the area and two lodges on the lake. Most campgrounds are remote and require boat or canoe access.

Oh yeah, did I mention the ATV trails that run near the lake?? There are hundreds of approved trails (usually woods roads) that are closeby.

This area is truly one of Maine’s nicest places to visit.



  1. says

    It is one of the nicest places in Maine to visit…one of the nicest places to visit anywhere. One of the best things about it is that it’s such a huge lake and hardly any people at all. Most people I know have never experienced anything like it – a ‘day at the lake’ for most of my friends is a place with shoulder-to-shoulder camps, water skiers, tons of boats … what’s so cool about Nicatous is that it’s not that. The idea of 5,000+ acre lake with hardly any people on it at any given time is pretty rare in the lower 48. In places like Europe, it doesn’t exist. In fact, it doesn’t exist anymore in most places of the world. It’s a good example of how land can be used for recreation, managed commercial activity and conservation all at the same time. If it was not for the easement deal, I would venture that Nicatous would eventually turn into a place densely packed with summer cabins, weekend condos, etc. owned by wealthy people from further South, with little or no public access for Mainers. That’s my two cents. Did I mention that I caught the biggest pickerel ever recorded in human history there? I’m sure it was, but I didn’t measure it. It almost tipped the boat over, as I recall.

  2. says

    Can’t agree with you more, Troy. Nicatous is a special place and will stay that way because of the easements.

    What’s so great about the easements in that area is that loggers are still making a living and it is allowing opportunities for traditional recreation for folks of all ages. This is in sharp contrast to some folks with tons of money that are buying large parcels of land here in Maine and then essentially closing it off to all but foot traffic. Sure, it sounds nice to say “Nature Sanctuary” but what good is a sanctuary if it can only be enjoyed by able-bodied folks that can hike in? I’m sure that many folks don’t agree with that statement but that is my two cents.

    Now, about the pickerel! I think I don’t remember it quite like you do 😉 . You will have to come back to the lake again and try catching one of those big ole bass. That’s lots more fun that dragging in that smelly, slimy pickerel.

  3. Manju says

    Nicatous is one of my favorite places in Maine, too! The clear night skies, gorgeous sunsets, and haunting cry of the loons are my strongest memories. Kayaking and fishing on such a large body of water with few other people around, and so much quiet, is definitely a rare thing in the world now. You and hubby are the luckiest souls ever to have a camp on the Lake! Looking forward to more posts about your adventures around there.

  4. says

    It is a great place. Just this weekend alone, we saw an osprey in a nest with her baby, two baby eagles, two adult eagles, geese, loons, and yep, even a moose. I will also be posting a couple of sunset photo’s from this weekend. Be sure to check back.